The comments were picked up by GameSpot and illustrate a more careful approach to the big hitter games in its back catalog. This stands in stark comparison to current industry trends to attempt to annualize certain games or franchises.
"The risk of just [releasing more games] is that you end up just bulking up your release schedule and that isn't really what consumers want. Consumers want better, not more," Zelnick said in response to a question about why the company doesn’t flood the market with new games.
"So our selective approach, which we've taken since '07 I think has paid off. Now, we have gotten more by taking that approach; we've launched one new successful franchise every year and I would like to keep doing that particularly because I talk about permanent franchises, but not everything is going to be a permanent franchise. Some of our great franchises eventually will lose their luster and some will hopefully be permanent."
He went on to identify “Red Dead Redemption” as a “permanent franchise” alongside “Grand Theft Auto,” “Borderlands” and “NBA 2K.” Since “Red Dead” sold over 13 million copies, that statement shouldn’t be terribly surprising. This is the second time that Zelnick as called the game a “permanent franchise” though so it’s a matter of when and not if a sequel is released.
“BioShock” is a touchier subject though. While the original was a critical success and “Infinite” received more mixed reviews, the series has not reached the same level of commercial success as other Take Two franchises. This led to the closure of Irrational Games earlier this year and support for the series handed over to 2K Marin.
"We haven't given any color on how you should think about [BioShock] yet except we do believe it's beloved; we think it's important [and] certainly something that we're focused on; something 2K Marin will be responsible for shepherding going forward. I don't want to say much else except to agree with you. I think there's a lot of upside in that franchise," Zelnick said.
"It hasn't necessarily been realized yet. And the question for the future, assuming we decide to answer the question, would be 'How do you stay true to that creatively?'; 'How do you do something exciting?'; and 'How do you do expand the market?'. That would be the natural drill. We're starting from a good point on it. And certainly it's been a great piece of business for us; it's been a profitable piece of business."